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Book TV After Words

David Coleman Education. (2012) 'The Fourteenth Day JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis.'

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Cuba 28, Kennedy 6, Cia 5, Berlin 4, Us 4, United States 4, New York 3, Peter Salinger 3, Adlai Stevenson 3, John Mccone 3, Bobby Kennedy 2, Fbi 2, United Nations 2, The Pentagon 2, Moscow 2, America 2, Vietnam 2, Texas 2, Jfk 2, Virginia 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV After Words    David Coleman  Education.  (2012) 'The Fourteenth  
   Day JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis.'  

    November 4, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00pm EST  

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best interest and that, you know, i think that some of this beganrt of e psyche th .. september 11th and a feeling of vulnerability that has persisted on several flying since then. so what have not heard is often discussions of, you know, if we pass this measure will that help? and you have to remember also that washington really believes in zero sum politics. this is not an original thought of mine, but it has been disillusioning unmolested coverage to see that the leaders on both sides have not been so much about how we fix a problem but gain and maintain power. and so a lot of these discussions have been about how the republicans rolled back the obama administration, making we can then ultimately overtaken and how they maintain that power once they have it. i mean, cloaked in the argument
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of what is good for america, but there is not allow a policy prescription in there. >> thank you. very good to see you. enjoyed so much talking to you. >> this event took place at the 17th annual texas book festival in austin, texas. for more information about the festival, visit texasbookfestival.org. >> up next on booktv, "after words" with guest host james hershberg of the wilson center's cold war international history project. this week, david coleman and his latest book, "the fourteenth day: jfk and the aftermath of the cuban missile crisis." in it, the director of the miller center's presidential recordings program details the baseball in october 28, 1962, and shows that the public believes the cuban missile
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crisis had ended, president kennedy continue to walk a fine diplomatic line. >> host: as you know there's a ton of literature about the cuban missile crisis. most of this focusing on the 13 days as bobby kennedy's memoir was called back in 1969 and hollywood version with kevin costner what made you decide to focus on fmap? >> guest: two things i wanted to talk about in this book, two different tracks the end of dovetailing indian. personal, most of the books that cover the cuban missile crisis came on the 13th day. and on october 20 was khrushchev estes or he's going to back up and he agreed to fire every to message to withdraw missiles in cuba. the first question was, not what? what happened? interestingly, and this is back to what usually happens, we know what happened in the weeks and months after that.
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there simply hasn't a lot of study on american site about what happened. i happen happen to elect enough to be working with the kennedy tapes during that period and kennedy was taping insensibly during the courage. so i had this remarkable window. one thing is i want to sort of extend the story of missile crisis to find out what happened, because on the 13th day when khrushchev capitulate there were still missiles in cuba. of tens of thousands of soviet troops in cuba. there were nuclear bombs and still tackler nuclear weapons in cuba. >> host: this is the part americans didn't we know about. >> guest: we will discuss that later, but the point being that khrushchev has said he was remove the missiles but he had lied before. so what happened was there was a deep skepticism amongst kennedy and some of his advisers that perhaps this was just a trick. because perhaps the crisis wasn't over, perhaps this is going to get worse. that's one thing i wanted to sort of expand and to deepen the
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story of the missile crisis. the second thing is that this is remarkable period in kennedy's presidency. it really is a pivot point for when he can turn his presidency around. if you do any polls today on the greatest president since world war ii, kennedy ranks head and shoulders number one. and one of the primary reason for this is a link of the cuban missile crisis i would argue. i wanted to look at this period where kennedy took a presidency that simply wasn't going as well as he hoped and was able to turn things around them was able to establish a legacy, a pivot point of the few months. these two things dovetail. because what we understand that a given missile crisis, that this was a great kennedy victory, that this was a proud moment for american history, i would argue is not inevitable. if you go back into the from come december, january of 1963, it was so touch and go as to whether this is going to go down as a kennedy center orie kennedy
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failure. i think this battle that's going on with kennedy trying to shape his presence, defined his presidency and shape his legacy is going on at the same time that also inform how we understand the missile crisis did a. >> host: one of the ironies of history is we have written it backwards. so looking backwards, this would all be under the shadow of kennedy's assassination a year later, and i remember when the first books about the missile crisis, the cover was emblazoned his finest hour. so everyone thinks this is just an a triumph. this was a very complicated and dicey situation when the crisis seaman had ended but do a lot of issues left on the table. your book first deals with this question of trust in a way of inspection at ronald reagan would famously be -- trust but verify. u.s.-india cruise ship agreed to remove the missiles under u.n.
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inspection, castro refused to allow the inspection of any missile dismantling and removal from cuba. what were some of the complications that kennedy had to deal with, beginning on october 29 of this whole issue of inspections and of dealing with the soviet weapons and forces left over in cuba? >> guest: i think the context of this is important for them on october 18, 2 days after kennedy had been shown photographs of soviet missiles in cuba, the soviet foreign minister came into the oval office, kennedy asked him flat out, are you installing offensive nuclear weapons in cuba? and he said no. we are not doing this. unknown to him, kennedy had the lossy photos and so mr. kennedy, he had just been like to directly about the missile. so fast toward almost two weeks, he has this issue with the soviet premier has said we will remove the missiles. trust us, we'll do. for the members of the ex-con, the issue is not so much trust but verify, but verify first.
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there really wasn't a lot of trust the kennedy was on tape talking about how the soviet ambassador to united states was never in as a source because the camp leatherneck not necessary he was lying but there were concerned that maybe he hadn't been told about this. there were concerns that listening to any of the soviet diplomats. revealed thing about deadlifting -- that's what they were doing. so kennedy and ex-con have this promise but they didn't have to falter and work out how to verify. he talks about how there might be a massive trick and how might be a hoax which history has no backlog of. what they have to do is look at how the into and within called its americanizing what's happening on the ground. their preferences to send american weapons inspections into cuba. fidel castro said it's not going to allow that. next best thing is an american
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surveillance planes over. but that in itself is a config decisions because a surveillance plane had been shot down on october 25. fidel castro still threatening to shoot down the american things. low-level surveillance planes are coming back with bullet holes. they were encountering antiaircraft fire at the 13th day. so for kerry, this is the decision, choice in every compounds into way? they have to do this every day. the truth of this decision about whether not is required to send these every day. so the verification in the street is about sending american planes, and that has its best because what you do if an american plane shot down? there is a remarkable, and this is, we can talk later about the value of the tapes but there's remarkable moment on the tapes that doesn't shop any other documents. the day was november 5th, the day before the midterm election. robert kennedy, in a meeting in
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his office with anatoly, the soviet and browser and to work out sort of the deals, private about this. word has used them to kennedy and the oval office that american surveillance plane, the pentagon had just told him an american service link has been shot down on me been shot down over to the. entity has the tape recorder will vicki goetze on the phone and talks to bobby kennedy. kennedy at this point is thinking okay, we think a plane has been shot down. now what do we do? is going through, do we do airstrikes parties thing about all these things about the political pressures he's going to be faced with and this comes a. it's a remarkable if you get your a president in real-time struggling through okay, now what do we do? do we retaliate? do we send our planes over knocked out there into something like that? kennedy was handed a reprieve. it was a false alone. they cuban maids have scrambled but they hadn't shot down an american plane.
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you get this remarkable sense of the tension of what ken is still facing. this is a week after the 13th day. you get a sense of how close military action still was during this period. >> host: one thing has become clear, kennedy was acutely fearful of escalation and how future generations would look if they lost control of the situation as it happened in 1914 except now with nuclear weapons and, of course, on the 27th, the continuous the plan had been -- kennedy refused to authorize because you so afraid of escalation. one consideration your book brings out, a very interesting way, is it wasn't just a question of whether not to send planes, what kind of planes. there were the high level planes which were safer and less vulnerable to being shot down these by the cubans, because the soviets were sort of playing along. they were not shooting
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surface-to-air missiles, but to get good quality photographs you to send low-level and those were vulnerable to the cubans. >> guest: that's worth explaining why they were of the controls, two different systems. the soviet surface-to-air system is very sophisticated. it required about six bucks the trend for anyone to operate it. during the crisis in after it was offered by soviet personnel who. the lower level ones, were controlled by the cuban. they had two different leaders telling them essentially two different sets of instruction. the american consider the soviets much more reasonable and they trusted him not to shoot down planes. >> host: that brings up a fascinating site issue that is becoming focus of some of the new research which is, we all remember the october crisis 50 years ago this month. there was a secret soviet cuban crisis in november 1962, which applied with other a new book, one of several for the anniversary, about how fidel
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castro was furious at the soviet, didn't americans suspect how bitter this disagreement was? castro's insistence for the sake of cuban sovereignty and dignity is the word that was used, firing on those american planes were as the soviets, you're right, ready to play along with bringing the crisis to a resolution. did the americans suspect how bitter the divide is becoming become the soviets and the cubans? >> guest: the americans did not have detailed information about what's happening in the discussions. they didn't have someone on the inside. but the cubans were doing a terrible job of hiding how unhappy they were with the soviets, and so what you actually get is in the intelligence briefing that the president and his advisers will get every day, there would be updates about how i know it,
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with the latest unknowns is with castor with khrushchev. so they certainly had a sense of it even if they didn't know the intimate details. >> host: did that help build any renewed trust in christian that khrushchev cannot be trusted to some extent? he has his own interest? or was this lingering sense of a thick of a fast one, and i should add, -- there were those on the right wings were saying, you know, this is our chance to get rid of this regime but how do we know they won't hide missiles in caves or something like that? how did kennedy view khrushchev once yet agreed to pull the missiles out? if he began to change his view? >> guest: i'm not sure you're i think it took a while. we were talking before about verifying before trusting. i think trusting came gradually again, once, once the
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surveillance flights are showing the soviets were, in fact, follow through, that they were dismantling. they start to realize that yes the soviets were, khrushchev in particular, perhaps we can trust them. and later on, in the later there are moments where trust really comes again. because once we get through, it is traditional for november 20 deal. and the nature of the deal is essentially that there are these long range bombers in cuba. that their are three weeks of negations that are these are not something where to get rid of? and eventually khrushchev decides okay, fine, we will get rid of them. and he tells the americans that we will get rid of them. but again, it's an issue, he said something that hasn't yet had the opportunity to follow through because what he says is yes, we will get through -- greater than in 30 days. kennedy doesn't trust khrushchev
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again because he lists the quarantine with the promise. so i think in the weeks following once they realize the soviets are, in fact, follow through, that the soviets kind of sort of for want of a better word, responsible parties in this, because, frankly, they did not view the cubans particularly responsible or particularly stable, and so once they realize that khrushchev was the one playing ball, then they did into trusting more. they trusted him on his promise to remove which he depicted trusted him on his promise to remove combat troops into course, which is what -- and he did in the end although we did for most of them. so the element of trust did actually built in. >> host: as we will discuss led, many have seen this as it, the entire cold war that this could've been a moment when kennedy and khrushchev, that united states and the soviet union moved towards a better relationship, in the or nearly moderate the cold war to disconnect the yet this was cut
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off by kennedy assassination a year later and khrushchev's ouster, a year after that. is what your saying that this is not something that happened overnight when the crisis ended? this is a gradual process was not an immediate sense this is a guy i can do business with, and we can service up and problems are expected right. i think the trust element has taken a blow. the americans and kennedy felt like to. i think quite justifiably. but that's exactly right, i think it was a slow process to regain trust. by the summer of 1963, things have so taken a big step towards that. kennedy is again calling for his american university speech. is talking about world peace which sounds very genetic but in the context of the times, it resonated with the even transcends it was the best speech by an american president since roosevelt. anja the signing of the partial test ban treaty. so you have got kind of this coming together, trying to work through these difficult problems because it's a shared expense
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how close they came. >> host: you mentioned the long range bombers and this brings up another as to what kennedy and his advisers had to russlynn in the days immediately after khrushchev's agreement to withdraw missiles. khrushchev left a loop of icing we agreed to withdraw weapons which he described as offensive and that meant his advisers, to try to negotiate for the soviets to withdraw more than missile. and a il-28 bombers became a major point of contention. one thing your book brings that to some extent is it's not entirely clear whether the consideration of an americans military security, national security, or whether domestic politics public opinion began to enter into the consideration of kennedy. how would you analyze that aspect of the issue of trying to resolve the crisis, and what kind of -- don't between americans and soviets but in the soviets and the cubans. castro at first was tell the
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aisle 28, then had to be dealt another blow of the subsequent to take them out. >> guest: i think this comes out the president anyone about the business being president to how he made decision. that there was no yard rule for a particular decision for him. there was no particular doctrine that he was confined to. and so it wasn't just a matter of sort of deciding one was, one type of weapon satisfied certain military security requirements or violated them or whatever but it was more looking at particular issue on its merits. and the way i think about this is contrasting two different problems. one of them was the il-28. so there's this discussion going on. khrushchev has said will move the missiles you describe as offensive, the weapons. so the xcom commentary, trying to work out what does offensive mean? what is it we can live with and what isn't we can't live within
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cuba? and, of course, the american doctrine has different ideas of what offensive weapons aren't soviet doctrines can't get into all the details there. but there's this struggles with the understanding is. the long range bombers to the americans, these have about 750-mile range. they could hit a lot of the southeast united states, but they're also very old. they were obsolete and they weren't much match for the american defenses and southeast united states. but the problem was, and let's backtrack. kennedy himself did not think that these were particularly big problems, and idly comes to on the tapes as the ones least worried about the il-28. he is on tape a few times saying things like we don't want to deal to hung up on these, i thought we were a bit unreasonable try to get these out. i make and he's trying to put himself in khrushchev's position. so he is not particularly insist on giving these out but he has
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advisors who are interested. robert mcenery is one of the most vocal about this and he says, look, we have to get these out. even if they are not a military threat in a clinical sense, the american public, these are not going to be allowed to stay because we just can't live with the american public if we let these stated george bundy argues for getting rid of them. mr. kendig is -- if you cannot look at clinical militant assessments of what is and isn't a threat, we have to get rid of these. then you look at some of the other weapon system. it wasn't just about the bombers and long-range missiles but there was a lot of other military equipment and cuba. >> host: and troops. >> guest: and the troops is the issue here. the americans thought there were something around seven, 8000 troops. the assessments vary, change to the crisis. it started at about 8000 then it went up. the top they ever realized it
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was about 15,000 troops but, in fact, there were around the 42000 never understood how many were there. but on the 23rd of october, the day after kennedy's speech to the nation, they started sending over low-level surveillance planes but they started getting much more detail about what was on the ground in cuba. they discovered they were, in fact, these comments it's in cuba which was the first time they had been discovered. in organizing for groups around the island of these troops have sophisticated personnel carry weapons, canyons, but they also nuclear capable rockets called frogs. and so what you're trying to decide is in the weeks after the 13 days is okay, our first worry is getting rid of the il-28's. but and also to figure to figure out to about two worry that getting rid of these other weapons and other troops out there could do we need to really go to that too forced khrushchev to police at the decision is quite different and it drags on.
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it's a level priority and one of the reasons it is a low priority is these look is back to the american public in the sense that these weapons and troops cannot reach american soil. they are threat to guantánamo bay. the marine corps commandant, has this wonderful line about these weapons india bloody hell with guantánamo. >> host: we are taught by the u.s. naval base in guantánamo trachea right. which is on the isle of q. of course because i couldn't reach the united states sell. so these were not considered as our children. so what happened is they dropped off the top tier and by the end of november, even after the november 20 deal, by that november 29, kennedy is saying actually look, khrushchev has said he will probably remove these in due course, the phrase you used. but he has no incentive to do that anymore. and we don't have any leverage and the only leverage we can offer is we will formalize a no indication guarantee.
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i don't want to pay that price. that's too high a price. so essentially, maybe we'll just have to live with it. so what happened, the soviets of their own volition for the own ours but with the cubans ended up deciding to pull out tactical nuclear weapons. the americans did not force the. the americans also did not force them to pull out combat troops, although they kept raising it. kennedy is to talk about them in the weeks before his assassination. but they ended up staying, or a at least a up staying. they resurfaced about a decade a half later. [talking over each other] it all dates back to the decision november 1962. but we're not going to make these the top tier pretty, that the troops will end up and let me ask a question that the mindset in assessing these weapons of offensive rather than defensive. some of these forces, there were
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some who said to kennedy, around a table that these could be a threat to the hemisphere. the big fear was not so much the kid was such a threat but it could be spreading to other country. brazil was feared might become a second cuba. kennedy and his advisers, tell me if the tapes that you studied so carefully in the aftermath, and i should mention that, of course, david is going to be publishing and has been editing fallings of the transcripts. we will come back to these later. never accepted khrushchev's public rationale for to point his weapon, which was to deter an american invasion. to deter a repeat of the bay of pigs, but with american forces, not given immigrants. so they always put the worst case analysis as to what all these materials were there. is that fair to say, that you never shifted? even though some of them were
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unaware of the covert american operations against castro and intended to overthrow castro? >> guest: let me get the first part of your question and, to because i think it's interesting. is an aspect of his cancer in recent years. first of all, others have brought out, we've been hard at the frogs -- time of the tactical weapons delivery vehicle tracking right. short-range battlefield weapons but they still of a nuclear war and. the soviet had around 98 or so to cuba. the original plan to soviets as was in at least some of these over to the cubans themselves which would instantly make cuba a nuclear power. so when you're talking about kennedy's fears about diversion, there was an aspect of this they didn't understand was, okay, perhaps might in fact get nuclear weapons. and this is only something we have learned more recently. so if castro is inclined to share sort of, share weapons
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osha resource with over pollution is in the latin america, there was this aspect that hang on, maybe, he came close to having these types of weapons and things got out of control. the americans did not know this. kennedy thought the idea of the soviets handing weapons, nuclear weapons to cubans was absolutely not possible. he did not think that they would do that so we had no idea that that was the plan. so that aspect of the subversion i think is actually, was much more dangerous than i think even thought at the time because they didn't realize the aspects the cubans might in fact have tactical nuclear weapons and going back to the il-28 bombers, that some of them did have a nuclear payload and they could've delivered in two they did know but there are some assumptions that go on that. >> host: this dynamic which is, on some of the research on the soviet cuban in november, which is in order to sort of rescue, salvage the soviet cuban
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alliance, knowing castro was so furious at moscow, the soviets were eager to reassure him that the commitment to saving cuba, to protecting cuba still existed and, therefore, the so were desperate to keep as much, other than a nuclear weapon to turn under cuban control. and to essentially leave a tripwire that the americans did not simply invade cuba with impunity. that that would risk soviet involvement. did the americans understand this alliance was in jeopardy? >> guest: i think this comes back to the second part of your previous question, that lighted khrushchev to this? and even half a century later, historians are still arguing about why christians do this. khrushchev, he said a few different things about why he did this. he kind of said the idea was to defend cuba. but if you go back to the period of time and if you look at what kennedy was thinking, this was not really what he thought
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khrushchev was up two. kennedy was on at a much more global game. he did not think that khrushchev -- first of all, why would you think -- send longer-range missiles to defend cuba? it didn't make sense to kennedy is trying to think they are why is khrushchev during this? the idea of definitive a dozen, because kennedy knows for well he's not planning a full invasion anyway. there are other covert things going on against castro and other things, by phone vision is not really probably what is going to do. so he doesn't immediately jumped to this defense of cuba idea. what he does jump to, he looks halfway around the world to what he feels most vulnerable, which is west berlin. and he thinks i'm khrushchev has been trying to force the issue since 1958 at dates back to stalin tried to push them. this is a festering cold war flashpoint.
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kennedy feels very probable there, as eisenhower had, as true when it. so kinky things, perhaps this is about -- so kennedy thinks, perhaps he is trying to leverage something in some way, to solve the west berlin problem. he wasn't without some evidence. this chap had been giving him some evidence that this might in fact be happening through the summer, khrushchev kept talking to american visitors and west german visitors who visited moscow, and khrushchev kept bringing out berlin, that we're going to bring this up in november at the united nations after the midterm elections. and so he had been broadcasting this to the summer. kennedy had been reading about this, and so they condition going into this process to believe that khrushchev will force the berlin issue. that's the issue kennedy keeps coming back to cuba. so if you ask can do what is khrushchev up to, and kennedy himself was talking about this on the tape, kennedy would say west berlin. he would not say defense of
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cuba. so the defense of cuba angle really doesn't come through a law for the americans but they are not thinking this through because it doesn't make sense to them. it doesn't sound like the way to defend cuba to do this. away from an american suspect in 1962, would be to do some kind of mutual treaty, warsaw pact like treaty coupled to send lots of conventional weapons which is what they were doing, but not send longer-range missiles that threaten the united states. ..
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but deterrence only works if the other person knows about it. and at that point the americans had not been told about the missiles not been told to short range or longer each one. >> they had to globalize back behind the decision was the nuclear back. a year before they had extreme superiority in strategic striking power increased and this is the way for khrushchev to recruit that. let's move to another subject of the book. of course kennedy is concerned about the domestic article ramification and certainly there were those even in the joint chiefs of staff who warned if
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kennedy did not ask strongly, just to be at peace now. the issue of managing public opinion is something that should bring out not only during the president be an ex-con was meeting before kennedy's speech, their efforts by kennedy to contact posters to get them to hold off on revealing the aspects. the news management angle in the aftermath is something you going to more deep league. talk about that. >> this dates back to the summer of 1962. they're turning up on the front page of "the new york times." this national intelligence estimate, which are high-level intelligence estimate that are actually fairly widely distributed. several hundred people get them, but there had a classmate the time. they end up on the front page of "the new york times." so when the summer of 1962, kennedy is trying to crack in the mix, trying to find a way to
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stop leaks from happening. and he entertained several ideas. the fbi started investigating these, but he also brings in a group of advisers were not widely known. they are the intelligence advisory board. this is a group that does not have its own power. it's not like cia or defense intelligence agency. all they do is advise the president. the president has complete control over who is on this board. he asked this group to look and come up with a recommendation. they came back and said what you need to do is get the cia to do this. the fbi, they can do the slick investigations, but they are good at it because this background issues. what you need to do is get the ca to do this. so what they recommended is having cia spy and american
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generals. it forms the cia. the cia is supposed to protect journaling, not internally. kennedy authorizes the program ends up being called project mockingbird. we still know very little about it because most of the still classified, but it was one of the items that the national security archives in 2006 and 2007. so the program in the summer of 1962 was when kennedy is starting to crack down drastically on leaks. during the cuban missile crisis of his fast-forward, the the white house intense control over information and you would expect that. it was a moment of crisis. you don't want to broadcast what is happening to your enemies. but after the missile crisis, the administration can do need to control the information. now that has two effects. one is that you have a very specific story coming out. you have control of the story.
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so prices claimer income you think if your in the face of a reporter or journalist or editor come you just had this massive close call nuclear annihilation anyway to find out what happened. say reporters are clamoring to the white house and state department commissioning to find out what happened. the kennedy said were not going to open the top on this. we will carefully control information that it's out there. we will carefully control information that it's out there. story set in the press, but it also annoys the price story setting the price, but also annoys the price because the press doesn't want to be spoonfed information or consider itself as propaganda messages. so you end up with this massive backlash from reporters and it drags on for months. and it sparked in particular by an assistant secretary by the name arthur sylvester and he became quite prominent to vietnam because he was the chief spokesman for the pentagon. you get him on record.
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perhaps he was too tired, i do know, but he told the reporter that government uses information intensive christ is commotion of renault sl president covered nobody wanted it to say it. this part massive outcry about management that the kennedy administration has been imputed in the news. this is an enduring subject of interest. we need to take a quick break now and we'll come back in a few moments. thanks.
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>> david camorra tech in my kennedy's news management innovations at the price. one of the fascinating things about your book is thick and surprises looking at this. you think of and the johnsons paranoia and angry views of the price to an escalation in vietnam and the price turn against him and angry relations with press secretaries had to do with it. and of course you think of richard nixon. that led them down the slippery slope of watergate. has he gotten a free ride because it's usually remembered as being buddy buddy with some reporters any reported in his life and had goodness of the press. >> there is a general perception that kennedy is press coverage is quite forming and it was at the beginning. but as you point out, kennedy knew this world very well. he had been a reporter. he had a fascination with at the media world works, not how reporters did their jobs, but
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everything else. he had very close friends who reporters and editors, who he would invite for dinner, and i to the white house for dinner and things like that. he knew this world very, very well. but at the beginning of this presidency, he did have close press coverage. particularly again around the summer of 1962 and things are getting more difficult for him to it you start seeing some stories in the press around that time about the honeymoon is over essentially. this often happens that the new president. kennedy came in basically an unknown quantity. i should point out this is not the press starting to sour. this is also being reflect genius pulls at the time. when he came into office he had very high pole, but also had very high undecided members. there were lots of people who have not yet formed an opinion.
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as his presidency continued, a lot of people who started out with an opinion started farming a negative that can and. so she had started started scouring on the poles in the american public bus on the press. 1962 the press relationship is getting more than this cuban missile crisis ends up being the spark for a much more confrontational relationship with the press because as we're talking about before, there is a massive price backlash about the kennedy administrations price policies and some of the things the white house is doing is before this moment, there is basically open season on any white house staff for. it is that you could go to lunch. there was in a lot of oversight of what was happening. on october 31st they believe
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it was, kennedy and ex-con meeting is complaining about another westlake and says this is that, we're going to clamp down. i'm not going to talk to the press. there's only couple people you're allowed to talk to the press about this peso is white house press secretary to something fairly unusual. it was immediately from that reading. he writes out a memo, typeset a memo saying, you understand that she will not be talking to the press and if you do, there's a bit of who you spoke to come when he spoke in which he spoke about. this is peter salinger, the white house press secretary. rather than duplicating and circulating, he walked around the office and got each person to sign this. so there's only one copy that they agree to do it. after that come each member of the white house staff they spoke to reporter they had to document
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what the conversation was and what it was about, who would listen when it it was. this has the effect of the trillion press policy. they are making their people more accountable about who they talk to you. the cia has actually been doing a quite a while. this is two effects. one is this clamping down on information and that is good for the white house because they can control things better, but it's not good for reporters. the odd thing about this though is it actually is a very interesting thing because which you end up having a solid these memos of who is talking to reporters. if you have those sources, you can go back to the memos and find out when they talked. this is actually very interesting in the wake of the crisis. some of them were foreign-made about what had happened. some of them were critical.
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there was one written by -- [inaudible] and charles bartlett. saturday evening post story about what happened during the 13 days. charles barkley was a close friend of kennedy's. he actually believed was responsible for introducing jack and jackie originally. so the article came out in one item in their with adlai stevenson had been stopped and there is implication he was willing to appease the soviets. adlai stevenson was one of -- definitely one of the advisors can notice a fairly unfair accusation in the sense he was not alone in a lot of this. so this article comes out, which is kind of scary and adlai
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stevenson, who until that moment how the wonderful presentation at the united nations. the implication comes out then that kennedy has authorized that he is the source of the article. so what she do now a sinister and going back to the peter salinger thing is go back and work out when he talked to them. >> host: that prisons people honestly abide by this. >> guest: that's interesting. they generally did. peter salinger's telling of a come of this comes directly for the president. they get into it for a while, it did fade off, but in those initial days they were talking -- they were playing ball, so you can work out where the source might have been it actually gets interesting information that we haven't quite got the smoking gun, but you can actually see coming for military risers in the white house and kennedy himself from
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the pentagon. so for historians and up with this oddly compelling and very useful source he wouldn't have otherwise got. at the time, back to the story, the press responded very negatively. >> kennedy was certainly one of those presidents who could be the chief leader himself and bradley would later publish a book of these. but there was this negative backlash, which you document, there were certainly some reporters who could still be spoon fed tidbits to fit the administration of a slight and the same article has a famous quote, eyeball to eyeball, another fellow just plain, which creates the image of kennedy is a quote castilian poker player who had outplayed crew chef. despite the backlash, which can be successful in creating the
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cliché of the first chapter of history in terms of the public oppression? >> guest: absolutely. there's two things going on. one is the press is responding negatively, but the white house can control the message. so they didn't stop the message. kennedy knew better than to completely cut off stories to the press. what they did was control it insights and bits of information to reporters. they really were trying to control the story. there's no question about that if you go back to her. but that is part of the problem that they were siphoning off to reporters that they liked it with information and getting bits of the story out there and trying to clamp down anything negative. >> again, which respectively lot of what they were doing was taken for granted. but then there is still the capacity to inspire outrage. >> after watergate, after the pentagon papers and the time, were much more cynical about
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white house press relations, but this is 1962, 1963. it's much more naïve than that fence. >> host: of interrelated aspect of the news management campaign continued beyond those election, talk about the domestic political aspect of the missile crisis and its aftermath because in the context of the kennedy presidency, this is a crucial moment if he was going to be able to improve his record, his legislative record. so tell me how domestic politics began to kennedy's handling of the crisis and aftermath. >> guest: kennedy was first shown photos. on october 16, kennedy's presidency had not been going especially well and that is especially true. if you go back to the previous year, although he got a big bump in the polls, it was not a crook moment in his presidency to say the least.
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so after the bay of pigs, republicans identify cuba is one of the weaknesses of kennedy and make us actually campaign strategy. were going to attack the administration on cuba. they have been doing that for this summer. so on october 16, kennedy is on the defense on cuba. this is not an issue he wants to take out. he was attacked medicare, anything other than cuba because he's very weak on this and by implication it that democrats might lose more seats, even though he himself was on the ballot being a midterm election. republicans have been aiming to use this. senator kenneth keating from new york was one of the most vocal, leading the charge, going on the senate floor just about every day saying with that refugee reports, the administration is turning a blind eye, being
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negligent and he'd been attacking him for months on this. so the issue had been sort of percolating for a long time. kennedy had had to put us in press statements, saying we know about the buildup, but so far it's not a threat, so it's fine. >> host: kennedy himself had attacked nixon. they were perfectly happy to establish your seder. >> guest: missile crisis breaks and becomes a public moment. the critics silenced themselves. this is a moment to rally round the flag. the president says they have our full support. were not going to an islamist prices jeopardize the united states chance of it to rehear. but once kirchoff capitulates, the cease-fire breaks immediately because it's about nine, 10 days from election. republicans after asking some very good questions about why did we find out about these
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earlier? was the kennedy administration negligent about sending surveillance flights over cuba? why did we know about this? is this a massive intelligence chatterjee? some of them go even further. if the kennedy administration covering here and it did the kennedy administration for political gain? this sort of suddenly breaks and you got this very intense. a political attacks coming in the lead up to the election, but they sort of dragged onto the middle of february 1963. the track on for months because there's a very good questions here. why didn't the u.s. find out earlier? >> host: and for audience, this is taped in the middle of a cobra 2012. they are comparable to republican accusations about obama and libya and the perennial thinkable when you find any avenue of attack him you go with it.
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>> guest: thursday's strong political attacks from the right and after that. this is part of a kennedy is facing is trying to control the message. it's not just making kennedy look at. any president is going to want good price. anyone wants good press. so part of it is just trying to get good press, but in controlling the message is also trying to not let his critics to find him. if we think that through a little bit, what would've happened if republicans had turned this, instead of us remembering this is a kennedy victory, a great moment in america's cold war battle, but instead talk about how this is another bay of pigs. there's another weekend moment that he was negligent, any of those aspects. if you think about that, the implication for candy at the time work environments. he was having a hard enough time getting legislation then.
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if he was further weakened by this perceived failure, he would not cut difficulty to 1963 and especially in the 1964 election. it is a vested interest in getting this program passed by sending off these attacks. possibly he wouldn't have had political capital to do things at the american university speech. he might not have the political capital to get the treaty through. so there's very practical reasons why he wanted to control the message, why he wanted to deflect the attacks going on during this period. post i want to challenge you on one day we read about on the domestic political angle, which is the pretty much escapade jfk from the charges domestic
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politics influence his actions and crisis. it is clear he had an interesting not providing the opening tip given in to nuclear blackmail, that he had appeased these others. do you believe that domestic article concerns were influenced in jfk's decision-making? i'll just give one common example, the refusal to consider a public trade of the american missiles in turkey for the soviet missiles in cuba. some said he just did not want to risk looking weak. getting into the crisis in the first place, to what extent was he concerned as with robert mcnamara said on october 16th, this is not -- this is a domestic or political problem. to what extent is domestic politics contributing to jfk's decision-making during and after the crisis? just go the way i handled this
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in the book is due to political considerations influence policy? i would say absolutely. but i would form a distinction here about partisan political considerations in this sense that this is trying to help his relation, democrats attack republicans. you do not get to be president without thinking about political considerations in everything you do. not just making a decision. this is part of who you are, as you have to think on how this is perceived in the broader american public. he's constantly thinking about in the 13 days and after. the distinction there i would call that sort of clinical awareness and that is constant heard of who he is, not just in the missile crisis, but everything he does, whether it's tax policy, civil rights, you can't don't think how is this
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going to play out? how is this going to look? i would carefully draw the distinction between data and partisan politics in a superficial sense. i do not believe and i argue in the book that he was partisan in a superficial sense. we like to talk about that was a political decision, things like that. a lot of the time we made that very superficially. but in a much deeper way, it is absolutely political ramifications, but he was very careful, for instance, to brief dwight eisenhower who at that point was the leading republican figure who engage in special briefings during the crisis. he was sending john mccone from the cia or, he would send john mccone in party politics at this point to go brief eisenhower. whenever he was briefing congressional leaders, it is a bipartisan affair.
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he was not getting democratic leaders on the phones and giving them privileged information. he was careful to be bipartisan in his political awareness. >> host: when the tape recording and transcript of the october 27 discussions emerged, they suggested jfk and appraisers were not so much fearful that if they accepted a public trade, this would be the american domestic lytic audience with nato, that they had betrayed and ally are sacrificed and allied interest. the net result was the same, that the deal was kept secret in the end. >> guest: if you're in the moment crisis trying to negotiate a trade missiles or anything like that coming in actually want yourself to be in a strong responsible position and you don't do that by volunteering information or volunteering things that are going to invite attacks. fish is natural. it's how you govern essentially.
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part of this too is kennedy had around him a very close-knit group. they're often called the boston mafia or the kennedy mafia or whatever. they were very left-leaning generally, deep into democratic politics. but in a cabinet, he was surrounding himself with a remarkably centrist range of people. john mccone, director of central intelligence. robert mcnamara who was not overtly political, but a registered republican. the secretary of the treasury, republican. so we actually may show about lot of his advisers were actually very centrist. he was not getting left-leaning partisan people around him when he was making these very important decisions. >> host: we have just a couple minutes left. one last question about the tapes. you dedicated many years of your
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life to the university of virginia miller center affairs. talked both about the value of these tapes, but also about the potential pitfalls because you rely heavily and some have said because the tapes are so wonderful that we can focus too much on them and there might be a danger to that. >> host: as you point out come at the university of virginia we've been working on these tapes of all six persons in the white house since about 1998 when the program is formed. read the whole team of people, colleagues, students, scholars working on this. so we're trying to work through this remarkable resource. but they do have to be used with care and i try to be very careful about doing that in this book. it's very tempting to write a book is essentially a list of transcripts and there's a lot of
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use as a reference in doing that. we do that as part of the work. what i want to do with this story was kind of embed them in a much broader story. and so, i've used a lot of other material that wasn't just for tapes. archival research that goes into these. i've tried to balance them out a little bit. but the tapes themselves to offer things you just can't get another place is. women traditionally historians have to rely basically in this. they were my two types of information. you get the written documents or you get recollections in the form of oral history and things that i have. the written documents are great for some things are not so good for others because what ends up happening is they have to be written by someone. that person has considerations in their mind. the oral histories and memories are faulty. two people can be in the same
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room and remember things differently. the tapes themselves give us this remarkably unrehearsed, unscripted view of what was happening. but i've tried to do is sell to the same with all these other source is. >> host: david, thank you very much. i urge you to read the book and look at the context in those transcripts of the tape recordings as they come out over the next year. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you.